Chris Tait of the Electric Six on Hope for Artists
One of the best things to come out of these historic times of pandemic and unrest, are the people I've gotten to know that are willing to get in the trenches for others. These are the kinds of times that expose character. Christopher Tait of the Electric Six is one of those people. He has a passion for artists, particularly those in recovery. Below is a guest blog from him with some words about the endurance and fragility of our artists.
"When I think of music, I think of movement. Energy. Gears turning. Change. Growth. Being from Detroit, I will always use a mechanical metaphor when I describe the creative process, or the live arena. Right now those gears have simultaneously come to a halt, and gone into overdrive. Our live arena is closed, and people have frantically crossed over into the virtual world. We don’t get into this business because it’s easy, we get into it because we love a challenge. From Napster to Covid 19, we adapt and figure out ways to make living as creators, musicians, crew, producers and all the roles that make the industry breathe, possible. But as the value of creation is reduced, what do we lose? Is a glimmer that becomes the next “Rhapsody in Blue”, “Here Comes the Sun” or “Empire State of Mind” going to fade as quickly as it came due to the weight of economic need and financial security? That could be an overstep. People in this industry were rising to the challenge long before we were told to stay indoors. Our struggles are what bring inspiration. Alfred Kazin: “Something I understand coming from Brooklyn, is the element of yearning. If you go to Long Island City, If you go to Brooklyn Heights and you look across the water to Manhattan, you have a sense of a goal that may or may not be reached by poor old you, but which makes you feel this most important thing in the world, you see. Someone said years ago that the longest journey in the world is from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and that’s absolutely true. I used to live on a street called Pineapple near the Brooklyn Bridge, and I used to walk across the bridge every day. Even there you were full of yearning for what lay on the other shore, and that is, of course, the very essence, a very transcendental emotion, visible almost in your hands before you get it.” Dreams and desires are of currency. And that currency is hope. A hope for a better life through expression; to influence and be influenced. To move upward and expand those dreams and desires. As that translates into the world, there is a financial element of the equation that has to be acknowledged. If you strip financial hope away, you’ll get the beginning of a dream and desire in its purest form. An emotion, a memory; a pain, a joy, a yearning that has to be released. But to give those who move us the allowance to grow, there has to be incentive to live in an environment that allows that flow. I’m not speaking in the short term; I have no doubt that we will overcome this current climate. And when we do, the urge to go out and celebrate or mourn, laugh or cry, will be greater than ever. Every emotion will have a vibrant soundtrack. But when the hope for a better life for the spirit AND the body continues to grow more and more dim, do we lose our greatest inspirers? When the financial strain becomes too great, do we lose potential moments of brilliance? Music has always been, in the spirit of free market, fiercely competitive. The best or biggest will survive. They’ll be “powered” by Doritos, playing on top of a giant arcade console at SXSW somewhere down the road. At what point do the rest relinquish hope and move on? If you can, give. The financial effect of Covid-19 is not a struggle that is exclusive to the world of the arts, and that needs to be recognized. But if you have the means, support a musician that has spoken to you. Support an org that helps your favorite artists, or the crew that make those events happen."